Four Things You Missed at Avaya ENGAGE

Avaya ENGAGE attendees enjoying the IAUG closing party!

1. Avaya is investing in innovation.

“Avaya is investing in blended solutions for enterprise users and gaining momentum in the marketplace,” said Avaya President and CEO Jim Chirico at Monday’s general session. “We are delivering the solutions and applications you need. We are helping you move from on-premise telephony to a cloud-based platform at your own pace,” he said. Chirico added that Avaya invested $300 million in R&D last year, expanding its portfolio, while enhancing its ecosystem and delivering strong financial performance.

Chirico invited Vlad Shmunis, founder, chairman and CEO of RingCentral to the stage to discuss their strategic partnership. “Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral allows Avaya customers to retain functionality and have it delivered through the cloud across multiple locations,” stated Shmunis. “There is not another combination like this in the world today.”

IAUG President Marilyn Shuck and Frank Ciccone, SVP, US and Canada, Avaya, welcomed attendees to Monday’s general session. “We want to inspire you and be all in with Avaya, your industry and your career,” said Shuck. “We invite you to stop by the IAUG booth and get involved with our organization.”

2. Magic Johnson and Mick Ebeling bring inspiration to conference.

Magic Johnson delivers stories of his past, with focus on his future. 

In his high-energy keynote, Johnson told of his storied basketball career, including championships in high school, at Michigan State University and with the Los Angeles Lakers. “I am a fierce competitor who likes to win,” he said. “Remember that games are not won or lost on game day – you have to practice, practice and practice some more.”

He explained how his fierce rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird made him a better basketball player, and paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, the Lakers star who was killed in a helicopter crash in January.

When asked about his legacy, Johnson said he wanted to be remembered for the college scholarships funded with his wife, Cookie, and his investments that have created jobs and career opportunities for minorities. “I want to help make our country better and make our people better,” he said.

Mick Ebeling and the Not Impossible movement 

Mick Ebeling delivered a strong message to Avaya ENGAGE attendees at Wednesday’s general session: “Go out and do some good in your life.” The founder and CEO of Not Impossible challenged IT professionals to use their skills, power and intelligence to change the lives of people in their communities. “Do that once and chances are you will do it again, and start to unleash a tidal wave of change.”

Ebeling had a successful career in animation and design, until an encounter with the family of a disabled artist who could only “talk” by blinking at letters on paper. In what was a life-changing decision, Ebeling pulled together an informal team that created Eyewriter using cheap sunglasses, a web camera and advanced code. It was named one of the best inventions of 2010 and now in the collection at the Museum of Modern Art.

More recently, Ebeling is fighting hunger in the U.S., particularly among the homeless, through a simple cell phone texting program that connects the hungry with restaurants that provide bagged healthy meals. “As technology professionals, you have the ability to change your community.”

3. IAUG announces new Board of Directors President.

IAUG is delighted to share the onboarding of the new Board of Directors President, Oscar Moncada, from Tesla Motors.

Oscar has served as the IAUG Vice President over the past two years and was unanimously elected President at the IAUG board meeting on Saturday, February 1. IAUG is thankful for all of the time that Past President Marilyn Shuck has dedicated to the organization, and the hard work she put towards improving our community. Marilyn will remain on the board in the Past President position to offer Oscar guidance and assistance as he acclimates to his new role.

Other new board members roles include:
Lori Wodrich, incoming Vice President
Gregory Bartay, incoming Secretary/Treasurer
Slade Besson, incoming Director

We are excited for the future of the Board of Directors and look forward to working closely with the team to build an even better community and conference.

4. IAUG and Avaya awards partners and customers.

IAUG President Marilyn Shuck joined with Frank Ciccone, SVP, US and Canada, Avaya, and Galin Kalib, Vice President, Americas International, to honor IAUG members and Avaya partners and customers on Wednesday.

The IAUG President’s Awards were given to Sam Osheroff, University of Washington and a member of the Pacific Northwest Chapter, and Steve Forcum, Sales Engineer, Avaya.

Gary Damp of Communication Resources Inc. received the Service Excellence Award, which is determined by a vote of IAUG members for outstanding partner service to the IAUG community and customers. Avaya’s Partner Awards went to Vox Network Solutions (U.S.) and Evertec (Americas International).

Avaya executives also presented Customer Innovation Awards in five categories: Business Transformation to Atento, Cloud Transformation to Giant Eagle, Customer Experience to Penn Medicine, Emerging Technology to Independence Blue Cross, and Unified Communications to Kaman Corporation.

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